Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Where did you two meet?

Something I like to do when I meet a couple for the first time is ask them how they met. Why? Because A: it's a great ice breaker, B: It's usually a fun story and a real glimpse into who are they are, and C: it almost always gets them looking all lovey at each other, which is fun. I myself love remembering why I fell for Branden, and sometimes going back to those early moments is like hitting the "refresh" button on my attitude when I need it.


Christians, how did you meet Christ?

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that your answer will probably not be "Oh well, ya know, I was arguing with a Christian one day, and their aggressive insistence that my life did not line up with their long list of rules backed up with a barrage of bible verses proving me wrong just made Christ sound SO enticing that I had to learn more about him!"

Don't misunderstand me, I know that my journey began with me recognizing and repenting for my own wrongs, but that's just it: MY OWN. We all know the ugly parts of ourselves, I promise we do, believers or not. But Christ to me wasn't going to be a manual on how to do life better, and when I counted on Him being that, I missed so much. I floundered. I fell. I was looking so much at the rules that I became exhausted, I gave up. Thank God for a Redeemer that comes looking for the one when He only counts 99. He used the softening my firstborn did to my heart to help me make my way back to Him, and there I learned how endless His love, how humbling His mercy, and how deep His grace and patience for me. 

We've all heard the phrase "You may be the only Christ someone ever meets." What kind of Christ are you showing people every day? Do you only bring up your beliefs when it's debate time? Or maybe just when you get some shiny new thing and you remind people that "He is so good!", reducing him to an all-powerful Daddy Warbucks that rewards your "good" behavior? Do you use bible verses to make your points, or to point our your own struggles? Are you honest about your own life, your need for grace and mercy, or do you hide behind a veil of being "good"? 

Jesus didn't die for more rules. He didn't. He died for people: broken, beautiful, imperfectly human, messy, people. To not present that as Christ first and foremost, I believe, is to do a disservice to the excruciating price He paid for us. The cross was not a post to which we pin our self-help lists. Does sanctification happen? All the time, more than is comfortable on occasion. Do we need to encourage one another and build other believers up, as Paul wrote to the church? Absolutely. The older I get, the more I see that God's laws are much like parents' rules: they are for my protection, not just rules for the sake of rules. But I do not believe that when we see someone hurting, someone desperate for something more, that we lead with laws. God's love should always come first, like a healing balm over wounds, applied gently and as many times as necessary until that wound is healed. 

Church, we have to stop living like God didn't meet us in a broken place- He did. We cannot forget the grace we've been given in our darkest, ugliest moments, and we cannot, cannot, keep it to ourselves. 

Remember where you met Him.